Published on July 14, 2016
1. Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=casr20 Download by: [Juliette Schwak] Date: 12 June 2016, At: 01:02 Asian Studies Review ISSN: 1035-7823 (Print) 1467-8403 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/casr20 Branding South Korea in a Competitive World Order: Discourses and Dispositives in Neoliberal Governmentality Juliette Schwak 줄리엣 쉥크 To cite this article: Juliette Schwak 줄줄줄 줄줄 (2016): Branding South Korea in a Competitive World Order: Discourses and Dispositives in Neoliberal Governmentality, Asian Studies Review, DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2016.1193474 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10357823.2016.1193474 Published online: 08 Jun 2016. Submit your article to this journal Article views: 5 View related articles View Crossmark data
2. Asian Studies Review, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10357823.2016.1193474 © 2016 Asian Studies Association of Australia Branding South Korea in a Competitive World Order: Discourses and Dispositives in Neoliberal Governmentality Juliette Schwak City University of Hong Kong ABSTRACT Since 2008, the South Korean administration has invested significant budgetary and political resources in its nation-branding strategy, involving the private sector and Korean citizens in this endeavour. This article takes Korea as an exemplary case study of the way many states have enrolled their citizens, through nation branding, in the construction of a collective competitive identity. This study is based on an empirically deductive methodology, looking at the industry literature on nation branding, official sources, iconography and videos from the Korean nation-branding campaign, and drawing on interviews with actors in and observers of this campaign. I suggest that Korean nation branding should be seen as a continuation of the capitalist developmental project initiated by Park Chung-hee in the 1960s.LeeMyung-bak’snation-brandingcampaignispartofaseriesof strategies aiming at transforming South Korea into a successful global site of capitalist accumulation.This path-dependency involves citizen mobilisation, and this is analysed through a Foucauldian prism: this article shows that although modalities of social control have evolved with the democratisation in 1987, they still play a role, combining coercion and non-coercive technologies of the self, in seeking to transform Korean citizens into competitive capitalist subjects. Introduction Since the 1990s, the phenomenon of nation branding has attracted the attention of pol- icy-makers and academics. The creation and diffusion of nation brands has been taken seriously by governments in both so-called “developing” and post-industrialised nations (Jansen, 2008). I define nation branding as an apparatus of discourses and practices car- ried out by cooperating private and public sectors, aiming to create a highly competitive national image in the global marketplace of nations through corporate marketing and brand management techniques and tools. A successful nation brand is assumed to be able to compete for international capital: tourists, investment, import-export trade, skilled labour and highly educated international students; and to foster the competitiveness of national companies. It also helps to “convey an image of legitimacy and authority in diplomatic arenas” (Aronczyk, 2013, p. 16). KEYWORDS Nation branding; competitiveness; South Korea; neoliberalism; governmentality CONTACT Juliette Schwak email@example.com Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
3. 2 J. Schwak Some observers find it hard to determine how seriously to take nation branding. According to Sussman, nation branding appears to be “an [obviously] exaggerated exten- sion of neoliberal globalisation and commodification, the notion that everything is for sale and that the potential market value of a nation … can be traded on international exchanges like stock equity” (2012, p. 43), thus requiring no intellectual scrutiny. Nation branding could indeed be mocked as a mere CNN commercial for a country’s fine wines and beaches. Nevertheless, I contend that it is a tangible phenomenon, involving both national governments and consultants intervening directly for them, and highlights more than the commodification of the national form. It reveals powerful global normative standards, and Foucauldian dispositives implemented in different sites of power, for citizens’ subjectivities to match the standards of normalcy of global capitalism. The Republic of Korea (hereafter, Korea) has invested significant budgetary and political resources towards its nation-branding strategy. Korean administrations from the 1990s have repeatedly engaged the services of nation-branding consultants, including two active promoters of nation branding – Simon Anholt and Keith Dinnie – in order to present the image of a modern and global country to the world, and especially to a Western audience. The Korean example reveals the complex manifestations of combined endogenous and global causes. While it is certain that Korean nation branding exemplifies a global capitalist normalcy framework, it has been shaped too by the specific history of the Korean peninsula and Korea’s remarkable development trajectory. Therefore, this article aims to show not only how Korea is subject to global capitalist structures, but also its agency in reproducing these frameworks. I suggest here that Korean nation branding needs to be put into historical perspective, and understood within the Korean capitalist developmental project initiated by General Park Chung-hee in 1961. Successive Korean governments have aimed at making Korea a leading nation, a “top country” (Kim, 2014, p. 4), and the contemporary nation-branding effort is intrinsically linked to this strategy, characterised by a hierarchical vision of world order. Some authors have considered nation branding to be an essentially domestic exercise, related to nation building (Valaskivi, 2013, p. 6; Barr, 2011). I argue that Korean nation branding is also directed towards a global audience, aiming at completing the developmental project launched in the 1960s and helping Korea to become a central player within the inter- national system. The different strategies implemented to transform Korea into a first-class capitalist country share similar features to a state-led, capital-oriented project that seeks to give Korea what its elites see as a legitimacy it lacks on the global scene. Nation branding is thus a logical step towards the global recognition of Korea as a successfully globalised competition state (Cerny, 1997; Fougner, 2006). In turn, this project could not be completed without mobilising Korean citizens. This article will argue that although modalities of social control have evolved with the democ- ratisation of the country, they still play a central role in transforming Korea into a top-end capitalist country. While the military regime used more explicitly coercive forms of con- trol, the contemporary democratic state has not dismissed coercion altogether, but tends to favour non-coercive “technologies of the self”, characteristic, for Foucault, of neoliberal governmentality (Foucault, 2004a). In the nation-branding strategy, they take the form of the imperative to “live Brand Korea”. To attain its global audience, the nation brand has first to be appropriated by the domestic audience, and citizens are made responsible for becoming the nation brand’s ambassadors. Thanks to these domestic changes, Brand Korea Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
4. Asian Studies Review 3 becomes acceptable to the actors “who count” on the global scene (Personal interview, foreign reporter, February 2014, Seoul). In support of this argument, I first explain my theoretical framework and justify the discursive focus of this article. I then outline the emergence of the phenomenon of nation branding, its discourse and practice. This is followed by a discussion of the common devel- opmental project of successive Korean governments from the early 1960s to the 2000s. Although Korea became a formally democratic nation from the late 1980s,1 and authori- tarian mass mobilisation is not the style of the day, citizens can still be targets of develop- mental mobilisation. To show this continuity, I present the main features of President Lee Myung-bak’s nation-branding project. The article is based on an empirically deductive methodology. I first focused on the empirical sources and then elaborated a historical and theoretical framework, inspired by Foucauldian critique, to propose my core arguments. My empirical research took as primary material the industry literature on nation branding, as well as the official sources, iconography and videos that have been associated with Korean nation branding, together with interviews (with scholars, journalists, nation-branding consultants and Korean public officials). Thinking with Foucault: Discourse Analysis, Power and Governmentality This article focuses on the discourses of Korean nation branding, and the Foucauldian dis- positifs [dispositives] that emerge from these discourses. While my analytical framework is that of discourse analysis, this should not imply a dichotomous gap between discourse and social reality. I focus on discourses because they are at the root of what becomes tangible as social reality. Shapiro comments on Foucault’s method and observes “a shift from ways of seeing …. to a focus on the ‘statement’, or collection of statements (discourses)” (Shapiro, 2014, p. 3; Foucault, 2008). Foucault operates a shift from the analysis of what is tangible, what can be perceived, to the analysis of discourses and the reality that they create. Far from considering that discourses are only intangible and bear no material consequences, he argues that they form sets of practices that in turn form the reality that discourses are about. This is a core assumption of the present work: that there exists an intangible set of discourses on competitiveness that has tangible effects because it creates practices that can be materially observed. Focusing on statements and discourses is central for a critical epistemology (Fairclough, 1995). Discourse analysis functions as a methodological tool to reveal the ideational framework informing a set of discourses. The discourse is not con- sidered to be a reflection of reality; rather, it constitutes reality in itself. In the documents and speeches analysed, comments and arguments correspond to relationships of power, exclusion and inclusion. Foucault calls dispositives the relations that turn discourses from language “into practices involving complex interrelationships among agencies and institutions”. These dispositives comprise “discourses, institutions, architectural forms, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions … the said as much as the unsaid … the elements of the apparatus” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 3). These dispositives, in turning mere discourses into practices, are responsible for implementing and reproducing power. Stemming from discourses, these dispositives are the workings of power at the micro-level, and are precisely what I attempt to reveal in this analysis of South Korean nation branding. Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
5. 4 J. Schwak Evaluating the changes in social reality that these dispositives create requires a different methodology, and will be the object of further research, notably through survey research. Identifying discourses and dispositives is an essential first step in this process, for social change cannot take place without the mediation of these dispositives. For instance, identi- fying the administrative measures and the institutions (to mention a few dispositives only) participating in the apparatus of competitiveness in Korea is crucial in creating a topogra- phy of power within Korean society, and understanding how the discursive emphasis on competitiveness penetrates society at all levels. It might seem irrelevant to speak about mass mobilisation and citizen control now that Korea is a legal democracy. Nevertheless, although modalities of citizen control have evolved with the democratisation process, they still play a central role in the nation-branding project, and are embedded in a more general phenomenon: technologies of the self in the neoliberal governmentality (Foucault, 2004a). These sets of modalities of government, analysed by Foucault, characterise the neoliberal project of government wherever it becomes hegemonic. Let us recall very briefly how Foucault’s analysis of power transforms traditional analy- ses of power and can shed light on processes of control under a non-authoritarian regime. Foucault analyses how particular discursive structures and knowledge conﬁgurations create “norms, rules and standards of accepted or normal behaviour, with respect to which agency may be evaluated and evaluates itself” (Manokha, 2009, p. 439). For Deleuze, Foucault is a “new cartographer”, meaning that Foucault shifts power analysis from a typology that located the origin of power in a single place to a typology in which power is diffuse and “can no longer accept a limited localisation” (Deleuze, 2004). The power Foucault describes in his works is structural and not reducible to properties. Thus, power comes from numerous discursive structures: agents do not possess it. When agents use power, they negotiate with the dominant perspective of what is normalcy and deviance. It is positive because it produces behaviour in accordance with the standard of what is acceptable (Foucault, 1975). While traditional analyses of power in political science have emphasised negative and tangible variables – that is, repression, coercion or imped- iment – Foucault introduces a new way of thinking about power, avoiding the classical definition of power and the capacity of an agent to force another agent to act according to what the first agent desires, under the force of coercion. Lemke notes that “[t]he relationship proper to power would not therefore be sought on the side of violence or of struggle, nor on that of voluntary linking…, but rather in the area of the singular mode of action, neither warlike nor juridical, which is government” (Lemke, 2001 p. 52). Introducing the notions of government of Others/government of the Self, Foucault underlines the co-determined emergence of modern sovereign states and modern autonomous individuals (Foucault, 2008). Following this, he defines governmentality as “the encounter between the techniques of domination exercised over others, and the techniques of the self” (Foucault, 2004b, p. 655). While “government of others” refers to a situation in which an agent exercises power over another agent to make him comply with the normalcy framework, “technologies of the self” refer to voluntary practices through which individuals not only control their behaviour to act according to what they perceive as “normalcy”, but also try to transform themselves to meet the requirements of these norms (Foucault, 1997a). Foucault’s work therefore focused on how individuals came to recognise themselves as mad, as criminals or as ethical subjects of sexuality (Foucault, 1975; 1997a; 1997b). So, “[f]rom the perspective of governmentality, government refers to a continuum, which extends from Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
6. Asian Studies Review 5 political government right through to forms of self-regulation, namely ‘technologies of the self’” (Lemke, 2000, p. 12). No argument could be more eloquent than Foucault’s own words: ...if one wants to analyse the genealogy of the subject in Western civilisation,… one has to take into account the points where the technologies of domination of individuals over one another have recourse to processes by which the individual acts upon himself. And … the points where the techniques of the self are integrated into structures of coercion and domination… Governing people, in the broad meaning of the word, governing people is not a way to force people to do what the governor wants; it is always a versatile equilibrium, with complementarities and conflicts between techniques which assure coercion and processes through which the self is constructed or modified by oneself. (Foucault, 1993, pp. 203–204, emphasis added) The individual is an obedient subject, on which, around and in which authority is exercised. He/she is a site of power, constantly reproducing it through practices of conformity to the norm (Foucault, 1975). Neoliberalism and the neoliberal subject Let me now define how I interpret the term neoliberalism, especially when applied to con- temporary Korea. It is essential to note that, following Foucault, it would be overly reductive to define neoliberalism solely in economic terms – the so-called “Washington Consensus” – although a range of criteria suggest that Korea has indeed become a neoliberal economy (the number of FTAs signed in the last two decades is but one example). Authors who have argued that South Korea has become a neoliberal state (Pirie, 2008; Ji, 2013a; 2013b) mostly emphasise the economic dismantling of the developmental state. Here again, I rely on Foucault to offer a distinctive understanding of neoliberalism that goes beyond a purely economic definition. He introduces the notion of neoliberal gov- ernmentality. He notes that “[t]he problem of neoliberalism is to … know how to manage the global exercise of political power on the principles of a market economy”, evoking an “economic tribunal” that is constantly judging and critically reviewing the actions of gov- ernment, evaluating them according to the principles of market society (Foucault, 2004a, p. 137, p. 252). The first aim of the neoliberal program of government is thus the subjection of the realm of government to the scrutiny of economics. The second objective of neoliber- alism is then to diffuse the “form of the company” to all social objects. Foucault argues that “it is about turning market, competition, and consequently firm, into what we could call the informing force of society” (Foucault, 2004a, p. 54). The market form is generalised and becomes the grid of intelligibility according to which the social sphere can be understood. Foucault notably describes the way neoliberal subjects manage their households and family lives based on the model of the company. In line with this argument, we could also note that the notion of human capital is revealing of this diffusion of the form of the company to the whole social sphere. The neoliberal political project can only be attained through a specific governmental- ity, paving the way for the self-government of citizens. Diffuse power, through various modalities such as discourses, political, corporate and academic institutions, among many others, leads citizens to conceive of themselves as self-responsible, and exhorts them to enthusiastically conform to the neoliberal project, under a narrative emphasising individual freedom and self-management. They are invested with neoliberal rationality, and become Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
7. 6 J. Schwak not political citizens, but neoliberal subjects. This phenomenon is key to understanding the forms of social mobilisation at play in neoliberalising societies, and is evidenced in the imperative to “live Brand Korea”. Discourse and practice of nation branding In 2005, The New York Times Magazine’s “Year of Ideas” issue listed nation branding among the most interesting ideas of the year, and quoted British consultant Simon Anholt: “Just as companies have learned to ‘live the brand,’ countries should consider their reputations carefully – because ... in the interconnected world, that’s what statecraft is all about” (The New York Times Magazine, 11 December 2005). Nation branding is considered necessary for governments that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, started to acknowledge “the influence of global public opinion and market forces in international affairs” (Anholt, 2006b, p. 19). TherootsofnationbrandinggobackwellbeforeSimonAnholtandhispeers.International fairs were already a way to display a country’s achievements, material power and cultural development in the nineteenth century. After World War II, national reputations started to matter on the international scene, and Cantril and Buchanan published the first study of international images and reputation (Cantril & Buchanan, 1953). In the 1990s, a “post- modern branding revolution” took place, and advertising, marketing and public relations (PR) became fundamental disciplines and fields of practice across and beyond the cor- porate sector; the brand itself and its logo becoming “the focus of conventional efforts” (Jansen, 2008, p. 125). This meshed with a growing concern about national reputation, and the neoliberal shift in global political economy led to “a renewed relationship of mutual dependency between nations and private corporations” (Aronczyk, 2013, p. 23). Nation branding therefore “started to be considered the most legitimate way to make the nation matter in a global context” (Aronczyk, 2013, p. 30). For Anholt, the nation brand became “a clear and simple measure of a country’s ‘license to trade’ in the global marketplace and the acceptability of its people, hospitality, culture, policies, products and services to the rest of the world” (Anholt, 2010, p. 7). Crucially, nation branding responded to the new discourse of competitiveness (Fougner, 2006), which urged national governments to withdraw from direct intervention in production and foster competitive market relations throughout the economy and society. This competi- tiveness imperative was imported to nations from the world of corporate management: Porter suggested that “a new kind of knowledge and expertise was required for state administration, one that comes from the worlds of marketing and management” (Porter, 1990, p. 46). Nation branding, in short, constitutes “structural and discursive strategies that extend mar- keting priorities into new social and political realms” (Greenberg, 2010, p. 116). It corresponds to a paradigm of world order in which competitiveness has been normalised, accepted as an inexorable force to which nations should adapt. Competitiveness involves, for its advocates, a distorted Darwinian idea of international politics, in which a nation’s objective is to win over its competitors and avoid being excluded from the global scene. What is at stake is whether the nation corresponds to the “evolved” political form of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: “deregulated”, “entrepreneurial”, “open-minded” and “business friendly” (Aronczyk, 2013).Nation-brandingconsultantsjustifytheiractivitiesbyclaimingthatcountriesareobliged tocompete:“I’mnotsurewhytheydoitbutIcantellyouthatiftheydidn’t,they’dgetleftbehind” Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
8. Asian Studies Review 7 (Personalinterview,brandingconsultant,February2014,Mumbai).Inaworldgovernedbymar- kets, “the rearticulation of national identity in marketing terms, then, [is] a matter of evolution and even survival” (Kaneva, 2012, p. 115). The practice of nation branding is thus an outgrowth of a discourse, contested of course by radical critics, that presents globalisation as an inexorable force leading nations to com- pete with one another in a global market place since the Cold War (Jansen, 2008, p. 121; Aronczyk, 2013, p. 17). Jansen indeed makes the relevant observation that competitive- ness can be considered as “the controlling myth or master narrative onto which individual nations can project their respective micro-myths and articulate their aspirations for wealth, power, and enhanced visibility” (Jansen, 2008, p. 122). As she implies, competitiveness is not merely an economic reality, but rather works as a self-fulfilling discourse in which nation branding becomes a necessity. Furthermore, nation branding is seen by its proponents as a necessity since world politics have experienced “a shift in political paradigms, a move from the modern world of geopolitics and power to the postmodern world of images and influence” (Van Ham, 2001, p. 4). Nation branding is thus presented as the only acceptable way to make the nation matter in this supposedly peaceful post-political world paradigm. So where Olins’s Corporate Identity, a landmark text for private corporations, suggested that the key to attaining corporate competitiveness was to foster a sense of loyalty, commitment in the audience, and pride, nation-branding consultants try to create a similar sentiment for nations (Aronczyk, 2013, p. 84; Olins, 2002, p. 247). This means that the domestic level matters greatly in the process. As one nation-branding consultant I interviewed empha- sised: “Nation branding is people-based”.2 It requires citizens to “live the brand” (Aronzyk, 2008), since the campaign’s focus is not only tourists, foreign investors and trading partners, but also the nation’s citizens. This is seen by some critics as consultants’ hypocrisy in that “although branding consultants prefer to describe citizens as ‘partners’ in the branding process, empirical evidence demonstrates that they are, at best, limited partners, as well as primary targets of branding initiatives” (Jansen, 2008, p. 91). The practical manifestations of nation branding are diverse: “cosmetic” operations (crea- tion of slogans, logos, supporting material such as videos, booklets, business meetings, cul- tural events, and so forth) supervised by governmental or private-public bodies overseeing the branding process in the long term (Kaneva, 2012 p. 118). In addition to the practitioner literature in books and in journals such as Place Branding and Public Diplomacy or Journal of Brand Management, nation branders have created indexes and benchmarking tools to measure the competitiveness of nation brands. Among these, the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index annually measures the nation brands of 50 countries in different fields.3 This literature argues that public officials have a poor understanding of nation branding and that globalisation is an inevitable historical force motivating nations to constantly com- pete; to do so governments need nation-branding consultants. (Anholt, 2006a; Olins, 1999; Papadopoulos, 2004). Genealogy of the Korean Developmental Project: From Modernising Korea to Globalising Korea From General Park Chung-hee’s coup in 1961 until the late 1980s, the Korean state based its legitimacy (albeit fragile) on its developmental character. Indeed, the “miraculous” development of the peninsula has been acclaimed by various international organisations Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
9. 8 J. Schwak (World Bank, 1993) and a wide body of academic literature. While a free-market-oriented explanation dominated until the 1990s (Fukuyama, 1992, p. 41), it has been replaced by a strong emphasis on the state-led character of the developmental project, and Korea, after Japan, has been characterised as a developmental state (see, for instance, Amsden, 1989; Woo-Cumings, 1991; 1999; Wade, 2003). This interpretation mobilises the overwhelming role of the state in efficiently managing market forces (Chang, 2006). More critical authors have correctly underlined the encompassing influence of the state in mobilising the whole country into its developmental ideology, thus referring to an “anticommunist developmental regime” instead of the more politically neutral, and economic-oriented, term “developmental state” (Cho, 2000). Park’s political legitimacy rested upon his promise to transform Korea from an under- developed, aid-dependent country into an independent and strong nation state, both mil- itarily and economically (Kim, 2014). What is often taken for granted is the ideological underpinning of such a national project, and the world view it assumed. As Lie noted (1998, p. 147), “[t]he crucial underpinning of Korean state nationalism was the celebration of GNP growth”. Park’s project of modernisation of the fatherland, jokuk kundaewha, “envisioned a world of nation-states that were in fierce competition with one another and were ranked hierarchically. His rhetoric of ‘modernisation’ and ‘catch-up’ suggests that the kundaewha discourse accepted Korea’s low status in the hierarchy of nation states and the West’s position at the top” (Kim, 2014, p. 4). To transform Korea into “a modern, productive, constantly growing society” (Park Chung-hee, quoted in Lie, 1998, p. 43), the authoritarian leadership relied on the construc- tion of a pro-growth, nationalistic ideology, which provided a basis of legitimacy for the sacrifice of a repressed labour force enrolled in the developmental project to provide cheap labour power for the ambitious state-led industrialisation programs to be implemented by the chaebols. This was mostly evident under the Yushin Constitution (1972–81), which legally denied labour its most basic rights (Lie, 1998). The set of mobilisation institutions and programs put in place to ensure economic growth but also to secure citizens’ commitment and willingness to sacrifice to the developmental project has been referred to as “mobilised modernisation”, a term that renders very well the characteristics of the developmental regime put in place in Korea from the 1960s (Cho, 2010). One notable modality of mass mobilisation of citizens to participate in national development was the New Village Movement (Saemaul Undong), a developmental program targeting rural areas. In 1987, nationwide protests forced President Chun Doo-hwan to abandon the authori- tarian system and to implement a legally democratic system. The end of the military regime and the economic achievements of the country at the end of the 1980s led governmental concerns to shift from their focus on modernisation to emphasise the necessity of fully embracing globalisation. The election of President Kim Young-sam in 1992 was a turning point in Korea’s engagement with globalisation. The new government adopted a new foreign policy paradigm, segyehwa (“globalisation policy”). Segyehwa’s objective was for Korea to “become a central country to the world” (Segyehwa White Paper, 1998), recognising the country’s socioeconomic and political achievements in the preceding decades. More than adapting to globalisation, Kim emphasised the adoption of globalisation as a state policy. Segyehwa was born out of a “recognition of a move from the periphery to the core” (MOFAT, 1998) and a worldview in which globalisation could Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
10. Asian Studies Review 9 be “a shortcut that will lead us [Korea] to building a first-class country in the twenty-first century” (Kim Young-sam, 1995, New Year’s address, January). This meant opening the country to the world and dismantling the institutions of the developmental state to better perform in an increasingly neoliberal global economic setting. Indeed, the new democratic regime accepted the principle of economic liberalisation of the country. Despite fierce opposition from labour organisations, the country joined the WTO in 1995 and the OECD in 1996. Although Kim Young-sam was a democrat and had been a long-term opponent of the military regime, the path-dependency of Park’s developmental project should not be missed in Kim’s segyehwa policy. As Kang comments: Recall that Park saw the world as a place in which nation-states compete against one another and envisioned kundaehwa as a strategy to survive such fierce competition. Kim Young-sam promoted a similar sense of vulnerability and crisis. At the Seattle Summit conference on APEC in November 1993, he declared the beginning of his segyehwa drive, with which Korea ‘should prepare for the coming twenty-first century, an era of unlimited competition, by planning survival strategy of internationalisation equipped with the supreme competitiveness of the whole world’. (The Newspaper of National Affairs, 20 August 1994, cited in Kang, 2000, p. 448) Through segyehwa, Koreans were to follow the model of “more affluent Western [states]” (Moon, 2005, p. 110), for which the government emphasised the need for citizens to con- form to international norms and standards. As Kim points out, “[A]s Korea repositions itself from the bottom to the middle and aspires to be a top country, conforming to Western norms has become an important component of developmental strategies” (Kim, 2014, p. 4). Exhorting Koreans to behave as “mature global citizens” through non-coercive mass mobili- sation campaigns was considered essential to the accomplishment of segyehwa (Kang, 2000, p. 450). Koreans were thus exhorted to accept cultural diversity, be aware of global issues such as peace and human rights, and actively and responsibly participate in world affairs.4 The subsequent Presidents, Kim Dae-jung and Lee Myung-bak, although from opposite ends of the political spectrum, both continued to emphasise the centrality of globalisation in the modern development of Korea, once more relating to an understanding of world order in which competitiveness is the key driving force of government policies. This was manifested in the continuation of neoliberal policies, and through urging Koreans to “glo- balise” (Kalinowski & Cho, 2012). In December 1997, Kim Dae-jung, a democratic opposition activist, succeeded Kim Young-sam. Globalisation was, for Kim Dae-jung as it had been for Kim Young-sam, a way to “join the ranks of first-rate societies” (Kim, 1999a). He also considered globalisation to be crucial for Korean foreign policy, seeing it as “in no way restricted to the economy” (Jojin, 2013, p. 9). His aim was to make every citizen a global citizen, and he argued that the country could only progress if it participated in globalisation and “embraced the challenges of the new millennium” (Kim, 1999b). Therefore, in 2002, Korea, together with Japan, held the first Football World Cup in Asia. In 2002 and 2004, the government held nation-branding conferences with professors, ambassadors, chief executives and brand experts, in order to understand how foreigners perceived Korea (Lee, 2005). With Lee Myung-bak’s election in 2008, the new policy line, “Global Korea”, reflected previous globalisation concerns. Like his predecessors, Lee was convinced that “Korea must globalise in order to survive global competition” (Lee, 2008, p. 4). His government’s foreign policy line was to promote a more active global role for Korea. For instance, he deployed Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
11. 10 J. Schwak troops to Afghanistan in 2009 alongside the US, despite hostile public opinion. World Friends Korea, a government-run overseas volunteer program modelled on the United States Peace Corps, was inaugurated in May 2009 and aimed to send young Korean volunteers to the developing world in line with their roles as global citizens. Indeed, WFK gives as one the organisation’s objectives the cultivation of “mature global citizens who, being open- minded about multiculturalism in South Korean society, contribute to the co-prosperity of mankind” (World Friends Korea). The creation of WFK was an outcome of the develop- ment cooperation policy launched with the establishment of KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) in 1991. So far, I have demonstrated the legacy of the developmental project launched by Park in the early 1960s in democratic governments from the 1990s. Although some studies suggest, with reason, that Korea is no longer a developmental state but has become a neoliberal state (Pirie, 2008; Ji, 2013a; 2013b), I consider that this transformation does not hinder the path-dependency of the developmental project and the world view it envisions. Korea might indeed have, if not become a neoliberal state, at least dismantled its developmental state model to fit into neoliberal globalisation. But this is done in the same context that has characterised Korean development from the 1960s: strengthening the Korean economy, notably through promoting world-leading chaebols, and making Korea a successful “site of capital accumulation” (Pirie, 2008) in the competitive world system. Branding Korea At the heart of “Global Korea”, the concern for Korea’s global image met the phenomenon of nation branding. The discourse of survival, underlined by nation-branding consult- ants, is strikingly similar to that used by Lee Myung-bak’s administration. In May 2006, Anholt was the keynote speaker at the “Nation Brands in the Global Market” conference in Seoul, held by the Korea Image Development Committee. He concluded his observations by declaring that Korea had “a major image problem” in the West. Suggesting the need for his intervention, he considered that survey respondents had confused North and South Korea, and had therefore described the Korean government as “dangerous”, “unstable” and “unpredictable” (Anholt, 2011, p. 294). Despite the country’s “great advances in prosperity, stability, transparency, productivity, education” and culture, and the success of hallyu (“the Korean wave”) in East and Southeast Asia, Anholt claimed that Korea remained relatively unknown, if not actually known for its negative image, in the rest of the world.5 To justify this claim, he used a range of nation-branding indexes, including the one he had designed: during the 2000s, the Korean image seemed to deteriorate in successive nation-brand sur- veys; indeed, between 2005 and 2008, it fell from 25th to 33rd in the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. Despite the questionable objectivity of these rankings, President Lee, former Hyundai Heavy Construction CEO and mayor of Seoul, took Anholt’s comments on Korea’s poor scores in nation-branding rankings very seriously. The concern was focused on the so-called “Korea Discount” phenomenon, the gap between the country’s development accomplish- ments and its poor image in the eyes of international audiences. Following the developmental project outlined above, Korea indeed became a successful global “site of capital accumulation” (Pirie, 2008), and was transformed from “a basket case of developmental failure” to “a solid upper-middle income country”, entering the OECD Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
12. Asian Studies Review 11 in 1996 (Chang, 2008, p. 5, p. 12). One Korean government official linked this transfor- mation to the contemporary exigency of nation branding, recalling common statements characterising the collective memory of Korea: “Korea has the experience of war, it was the poorest country in the world, and we were aid recipients. It was a long time ago, but this history is still affecting many people. It is an obstacle for us to promote our country. So our government really thinks that nation branding is important” (Personal interview, government official, February 2014, London). It has been argued that, consequently, many foreigners still believed Korea was an under- developed, aid dependent country, at least until the 2002 World Cup and the subsequent decade of segyehwa policy, and that Korean companies chose not to advertise their country of origin, preferring to be branded globally (Dinnie, 2009). The discourse on Korea’s poor image used by nation-branding consultants has become fixed in the minds of Koreans and foreign observers alike. Consequently, in his 2008 Liberation Day speech, President Lee declared: “It is extremely important for Koreans to win the respect of the international community… Korea is one of the most technologically advanced nations. And yet, the first images coming to the minds of foreigners are strikes and street demonstrations. If our nation wants to be ‘approved’ as an advanced country, then it … needs to improve its image and its reputation significantly” (Lee, 2008). Following this appeal, Lee Myung-bak created the Presidential Council on Nation Branding on 22 January 2009. As Dinnie observed, “the government has committed significant resources and energy to position the Korea Brand as vibrant, dynamic democracy, creative and open to the world” (Dinnie, 2009, p. 95). I argue that these attributes suggest a neoliberal lexicon (“dynamic”, “creative”) and are embedded in the discourse of competitive organisation (Beck, 1986). The Korean government has organised nation branding in a way that no other nation has. As Lee Doo-hee, a professor at Korea University and member of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding put it: “No [other] nation has taken systematic measures to improve its nation brand, particularly by establishing a separate organization and by creating its own tool for international comparison” (Lee, 2010, p. 42). The Council was indeed unsatisfied with the Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index. As its first chairman Eun Yoon-dae put it, “[s]o far, the Nation Brands Index developed by Simon Anholt has been used, but it has problems in its study methods and is scientifically inaccurate. Moreover, we could not really figure out why Korea ranked 31st . So we needed a new index that could give us a more concrete evaluation” (Lee, 2010, p. 73). Consequently, from 2009, the Council worked with a Korean think tank, SERI (Samsung Economic Research Institute), to create a Korean index for comparing nation brands: the Seri-PNCB NBDO Nation Brand Dual Octagon.6 According to the former website of the Council, “[n]ation brand is the dignity of a coun- try. Korea must raise its global status by making efforts to gain credibility and likability in the international arena” (PCNB, 2009). Therefore, the Council’s main objectives were “to increase Korea’s commitment and contribution to the international community; to help Koreans become responsible, respectful global citizens; and to promote Korean products and services” (PCNB, 2009). It had 47 members (13 government officials and 34 others, mostly from the academic and private sectors); 24 international advisors also sat on five different committees (Kim, 2011). In March 2009, the PCNB presented a 10-part plan for action. Among its leading initia- tives, aiming to show its benevolent commitment to international cooperation as a country Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
13. 12 J. Schwak ready and willing to address global challenges, World Friends Korea would send more than 3,000 young Koreans to developing countries every year to participate in development efforts (Kim, 2011). Public diplomacy would be developed, with the nomination of an Ambassador for Public Diplomacy based in Seoul to take advantage of the hallyu phenomenon (Shim, 2011), and Korean international aid to developing countries would be increased, together with the adoption of a Korean Wave Program to help developing countries achieve rapid economic development based on the Korean development model. In addition, the PCNB sought to attract young foreign talent and foster academic relations between Korean and foreign universities through the Global Korea Scholarship Program and the Campus Asia Program. Finally, it sought to help Koreans become global citizens by fostering a greater sense of respect for cultural diversity and open-mindedness in Korean society, through academic exchange programs and the establishment of educational foreign cultural centres in Korea. The PCNB also emphasised the need to achieve better treatment and integration of foreigners and multicultural families through the Rainbow Korea TV campaign, which encourages Koreans to welcome foreigners and improve their global etiquette (Kim, 2011). The private sector was also involved in the nation-branding strategy. The business sector participated by opening new Korean Chambers of Commerce around the world, thus foster- ing the promotion of the Republic of Korea as an investment destination. The entertainment industry was the source of the hallyu phenomenon, which refers to the increased popularity of Korean pop music and media productions worldwide (see, for instance, Messerlin & Shin, 2013; Kim, 2011). This cultural wave has probably been the key driving force of Korean nation branding. This led the Council to launch a “Global Korea” campaign, in collaboration with major chaebols (Samsung, LG, Hyundai) and entertainment companies (SM, YG, JYP), to incorporate this successful wave of Korean popular culture into the governmental agenda. Crucially, South Korean nation branding required citizens to “live Brand Korea”. Living the brand is a key part of any nation-branding strategy (Anholt, 2003)7 and entails having ordinary citizens perform “attitudes and behaviours that are compatible with the brand strategy” (Aronczyk, 2008, p. 54). Since Brand Korea was that of a global, multicultural and dynamic country, Korean citizens have been given the responsibility of acting accordingly. Unveiling the set of dispositives of power that characterise governmentality in neoliberal Korea opens up a promising research agenda. The imperative of competitiveness carried out by the discourse of nation branding is instilled in society by numerous dispositives of power which, as Foucault noted, are constituted of “discourses, institutions [such as the PCNB or the one-off World Education Forum that took place in Korea in May 2015 (Korea Times, 24 April 2015)], architectural forms [grand infrastructural projects such as the Incheon Airport or Songdo – “the world’s greenest city”], administrative measures, scientific statements [such as the creation of an industry literature on Korean nation branding and competitiveness, to which the Seri-PNCB NBDO Nation Brand Dual Octagon belongs], philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 3). This article has aimed to be a first step in building a topographic study of the micro- power derived from the nation-branding discourse in Korean society. A series of additional studies on the dispositives introduced above would require a multidisciplinary framework and could lead, through a Foucauldian methodology, to unveiling how Korean citizens are constantly transformed and transform themselves into competitive neoliberal subjects. Further manifestations of this subtle power could be revealed by looking at the top-down imperative of fostering multiculturalism or a creative economy, the increased pressure put Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
14. Asian Studies Review 13 on Korean youth to be competitive entrepreneurs of the self in the global job market and the culture of labour flexibility that has emerged since the 1990s, the reliance on individual responsibility for issues such as social security, the overwhelming pressure put on students to perform in an increasingly competitive education system now embedded in a global educational market place, or the push for the abandonment of the last vestiges of tradi- tional patterns of life and consumption towards a cosmopolitan, middle-class existence, in accordance with the standards of global normalcy. Conclusion This article has shown that Korean nation branding needs to be put into a historical per- spective, starting from Park Chung-hee’s development project in the early 1960s. Although Korean nation branding can in part be explained by the increasing appeal of nation branding from the late 1990s, it should also be placed within the context of constant reinvention of Korea as “a site of capitalist accumulation” in a global competitive setting (Pirie, 2008). This path-dependent governmental project has required the mobilisation of citizens during and after the military dictatorship. This article has argued that although the modalities of social control have evolved with the democratisation of the country, they still play a central role in transforming Koreans into top-end capitalist citizens. Neoliberal governmentality, as it invests citizens and introduces a social rationality that appears beyond question, might seem even more pervasive than coercive “mobilised mod- ernisation” (Cho, 2010). This is not to say that this governmentality does not face limits, tensions and sometimes violent reactions (Foucault, 1975). Consider the fierce anti-G20 demonstrations that took place in 2010, the Korean labour unions’ constant and strong opposition to the progressive economic liberalisation of the country (exemplified by a number of severe strikes against privatisation plans, most notably the KORAIL privatisation plan in 2014), and the recent Annyong dul hasimnikka (“How are we all doing?”) movement that testifies to social unease among Korean youth (Yoon, 2013): all parasitic upon the consensual Global Korea image that the government tries to sell, suggesting that making Korean citizens competitive global citizens is not as smooth a process as the inexorable imperative to compete would suggest. In 2013, newly elected President Park Geun-hee decided to dissolve the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, as it had been the target of much criticism by foreign observ- ers for its lack of coherence and its “archaic” management (Personal interview, foreign reporter, March 2014, Seoul). Nevertheless, it seems that the promotion of the Korean cre- ative economy and the Saenuri Party’s praise of multiculturalism are elements of a similar strategy aimed at enhancing Korean competitiveness and requiring citizens once again to feel responsible for actively participating and succeeding in the global competitive set- ting through fostering their identities as global citizens. Korean nation branding, when understood in the long-term perspective of national development and within the paradigm of global competitiveness, thus provides an excellent case study in understanding how Foucauldian modalities of power are exercised in post-industrialised, formally democratic nations, through neoliberal technologies of the self that invest citizens and supplement mass mobilisation. Nevertheless, as Foucault was careful to note (Foucault, 1975), this new typography of power does not suggest that power is rigidly structural; rather, as the Korean case highlights, this governmentality is a constant source of tensions and evolution. Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
15. 14 J. Schwak This article has focused on Korean nation branding, and has shown both its endogenous characteristics and its global character. This global aspect deserves additional attention, since Korea is one among many nations that have resorted to nation branding to “make it” in the global competitive race. Comparing Korean nation branding with that of other Northeast Asian and post-Soviet nations leads to the identification of common patterns among nation-branding campaigns, especially in transitioning countries. The involvement of Western brand consultants is a major commonality of nation-branding strategies in devel- oping countries in which, more often than not, the West is perceived as a source of legitimate knowledge by local elites (Personal interview, branding consultant, March 2014, London) and as a model to be emulated (Kaneva, 2012; Aronczyk, 2013). Nation branding almost invariably leads to the creation of a group of local actors who take on the nation-branding expertise locally (Kaneva, 2012). All nation-branding projects seem to share a common duplicity of objectives: not only is nation branding a transnational practice, “it also responds to domestic political aims, measures and processes as well” (Valaskivi, 2013, p. 4; see also Barr, 2011). Indeed, nation branding was certainly a way for President Lee Myung-bak to restore his legitimacy, threat- ened by the costly and unpopular Four River Project or the signing of the KORUS, while in Japan it responded to a national feeling of crisis after the 2011 Great Earthquake (Valaskivi, 2013). China has also been investing considerable resources in its image campaign as a nation-building strategy (De Kloet, Pak, & Landsberger, 2011; Barr, 2011). In Kazakhstan, nation branding is used to legitimise Nazarbayev’s authoritarian regime (Fauve, 2015). But most importantly, ever since the segyehwa paradigm – as a precursor to Korean nation branding responding to the need to define Korea as a newly democratic nation – Korean nation branding could be seen as responding to similar objectives to post-Soviet nation branding. In post-Soviet countries, nation branding is a way to deal with the difficulties of the transition period. This transition is marked by a desire to shift from what is perceived as a “backward”, undesired identity to a desired identity, which is the “ideological project of post-communist national identity construction” (Kaneva, 2012, p. 6), but is also relevant to early 1990s Korea as it sought to erase its image as both a poverty-stricken developing country and a severe authoritarian regime. What matters in most nation-branding strategies, and particularly in countries such as Korea or Eastern European countries whose images have been tarnished by decades of dicta- torship, a reputation for economic protectionism or the undesirable spectre of communism, is to “render [these countries] suitable for global consumption” (Kaneva & Popescu, 2011, p. 201). National identity becomes ahistorical, apolitical, expurgated from the societal con- flicts and deliberations it involves, and in line with the imperatives of the global market. While in a few countries, such as Japan, nation branding has mostly focused on mar- keting strategies, countries such as Korea have emphasised attitudinal change throughout society. This is notably the case in countries such as Sweden, Finland and China (Valaskivi, 2013, p. 7; De Kloet, Pak, & Landsberger, 2011). Consequently, these states, through nation branding, have enrolled their citizens in the construction of a collective competitive identity. As demonstrated, contemporary Korea is an exemplar of this phenomenon. Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
16. Asian Studies Review 15 Notes 1. I use the term “formally” in a value-neutral way, in order to avoid questioning whether South Korea is a substantial democracy, a debate that has been revived lately by diverse scandals and threats to freedom of speech. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/ world/2014/mar/04/pyongyang-south-korea-jails-politician and http://english.hani.co.kr/ arti/english_edition/e_editorial/670016.html. Whether any formal democracy in the world is indeed a substantial democracy remains largely open to debate. 2. All translations from French are my translations. 3. “What is essential is ownership, participation and maximum openness. The only way to make it durable is to have the public, which will always be interested in this. Transparency is crucial” (Personal interview, nation-branding consultant, London, March 2014). 4. The Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index is the most well-known nation-branding index. It is an annual survey based on a series of on-line interviews with samples of citizens (according to different criteria: age, gender, ethnicity, education) from 50 nations. Retrieved from http:// www.simonanholt.com/Publications/publications-other-articles.aspx. The choice of nations “is based on the political and economic importance of the nations in global geopolitics and the flow of trade, businesses, people, and tourism activities” (Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index). It divides the nation brand into 6 categories: exports, immigration, governance, culture, tourism and people. Each consultancy usually sets up its own index, using a different methodology. Retrieved from http://www.brandfinance.com/knowledge_centre/reports/ brandfinance-nation-brands-2013 5. The survey was developed by SERI and the PCNB in 2009, and is divided between the main categoriesof “substanceandimage”,andevaluatesthenationbrandsof50nationsaccordingtoeight categories (the Octagon): “economy/corporations, science/technology, infrastructure, policies/ institutions,heritage,modernculture,peopleandcelebrities”.Retrievedfromhttp://www.google. com.hk/url?sa=trct=jq=esrc=sfrm=1source=webcd=4ved=0CDQQFjADurl= http%3A%2F%2Fwww.seriworld.org%2F16%2Fqt_PdfDown.html%3Fmncd %3D0301%26pub%3D20130220%26seq%3D314ei=VGO3VLvLIJSGuAS- roCADwusg=AFQjCNH_UGcu_k4Yz612f4eJXW-7noBuDAsig2=sybZHZvO_1W0_ ncd7QSMZgbvm=bv.83640239,d.dGY. The impartiality of the creators of this survey could be questioned. Moreover, the methodology does not seem dramatically different from the Anholt-GfK NBI’s. 6. A brand is successful when “public speaks to publics; when a substantial proportion of the population of the country – not just civil servants and paid figureheads – get behind the strategy and live it in their everyday dealings with the outside world” (Anholt, 2003, p. 123). 7. This is still an objective of the current South Korean administration. See http://www. koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/04/116_177719.html Acknowledgments I would like to thank Professor Ivan Manokha, Professor Justin Robertson and Professor Paul Cammack for their support, from the beginning of this research project to the completion of this article. Disclosure Statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author. ORCID Juliette Schwak http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5257-3770 Downloadedby[JulietteSchwak]at01:0212June2016
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